Our relatively low Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions are notably the consequence of the shift from mechanical to chemical pulp processes, driven by market developments and product evolution, but also of the growing use of less carbon-intensive or even carbon-neutral sources of energy, such as bioenergy, and by investments in state-of-the-art production technologies.
The sector is becoming increasingly energy self-sufficient by using its own process by-products and residues to generate renewable energy in its Combined Heat and Power (CHP) installations and biomass boilers.
We have achieved a reduction of our total (direct and indirect) carbon emissions by 53% per tonne of product from 1990 to 2021.
An industry consortium is currently working on developing a radically new, sustainable and techno-economically feasible pulping technology for wood based on deep eutectic solvents (DES), a new class of natural solvent which has the unique ability to dissolve wood components at low temperature and atmospheric pressure.
The technological breakthrough expected through the development of such new DES pulping technology could reduce process energy intensity by at least 40% and investment costs by 50% compared to traditional chemical pulping technology.
Provides is a research and innovation project (RIA) within the Biobased Industries Initiative. Read more about PROVIDES and DES here.
In 2019, CEOs representing the European paper industry outlined their plans to reach a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 in a declaration which was officially handed over to Clara De La Torre, Deputy Director-General of DG CLIMA and Timo Pesonen, Director-General of DG GROW, present along with other European Commission representatives.
The way forward finds its foundations in the very solid basis of our existing achievements. We have guaranteed the sustainability of our raw materials, improved the performance of our processes and proven the climate friendliness of our products.
Sustainable raw materials: our raw material is wood pulp, which is intrinsically renewable if coming from properly managed forest sources; this is why we have helped create a number of programmes for the certified sustainability of forests across Europe such as PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). We have expanded sustainable forest management practices in Europe and globally.
Decarbonised processes: we have delivered a successful decarbonisation of our operations of 31% from 2005 to date. Our sector is investing at a rate of more than billion per year to decarbonise, with a commitment to making our production processes more efficient and decreasing our overall carbon footprint thanks to new technologies and collaboration with our partners. A step change is ultimately needed and supported by breakthrough technologies and solutions. We are committed to searching for them.
Climate-friendly products: world champions in recycling, we have worked with local authorities to improve separate collection of paper and board to boost the use of recycled fibres in new products. We now plan to push our model even further in a final goal of providing innovative sustainable solutions for a range of new sectors, for example textile, through new bio-based products.
Click here to know more on the Cepi’s Climate Initiative.
Click here to learn more about our vision outlined in our 2050 ‘Investment Roadmap‘ of a low-carbon bioeconomy.
New production technologies ->
Improvement in processes and investments in state-of-the-art technologies are expected to continue, driven by competitiveness and productivity. The transition to industry 4.0 will also deliver efficiency gains.
Low-to no-carbon energy sources ->
Driven by economic, environmental and political reasons, the industry is in the process of switching from carbon-intensive energy to that which emits less carbon dioxide, in particular renewable energy.
Leveraging on-site cogeneration assets ->
Having the possibility to adapt our electricity consumption (demand-side flexibility) offers a range of advantages, such as reduced consumption costs, enhanced generation adequacy and greater accommodation of intermittent renewable energy sources. Provided relevant market and regulatory arrangements are in place, a lot of market potential can be achieved.
Innovative and disruptive solutions ->
In addition to some of the breakthrough concepts identified in the Two Team Project such as the â€œDeep Eutectic Solventsâ€ technology, now under development, other innovative and disruptive solutions could complement the emission reduction effort by some 5 million tonnes of CO2.
Over the coming 35 years ->
As European power production acclerates its decarbonisation, the forest fibre and paper industry’s indirect emissions from purchased electricity will decrease by 11 million tonnes over the coming 35 years.
Transport efficiency and alternative transport fuels
Emissions reduction will also come from the combination of improving transport efficiency and using alternative transport fuels, such as biogas, advanced biofuels, electricity or even fuel cells. This should lead to reducing the sector’s transport footprint by 4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions.
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Masterplan for a Competitive Transformation of EU Energy-intensive Industries Enabling a Climate-neutral, Circular Economy by 2050 (Report from the High-Level Group on Energy-Intensive Industries)